2014: Letting Go

Let Go. What (or whom) did you let go of this year? Why?

In 2010, it was a person. In 2011, it was an idea. In 2012, it was a symbol represented by a person. In 2013, I let go fear.

In 2014, I let go of humility. Well, in the positive sense, of progression. I felt trapped in the fear that others would judge my self-promotion and the fact that I had no idea what I was doing. Imposter syndrome? Yes, but it’s very unlike the syndrome many women describe in tech. I am in a secure place in tech where yes, I grew less humble and demanded higher hourly rates, better working environments. But because I deserved it.

But what I mean is the fear that drives me to be humble (or quiet). I still hate talking about my work, thinking that it’s lesser. But I pursued writing groups and classes. And I kept going and going.

Back in late September, the wind was picking up as we were moving quickly toward Rockland. It was the last day of the writing workshop. I turned to a fellow writer. He was at least a decade older than me with a teenage daughter and a wife who had exited their marriage with dreams of another life. As we scooped the morning’s breakfast onto our plates, I made small talk about the last day—the sorrow of it ending, but how it would propel us to confidence. “Sometimes, I feel like I have imposter syndrome,” I said, the words accidentally sliding out. “Like I can’t really measure up to the other writers.”

I stiffened as I could hear my well-meaning problem-solving friends who would stare at me and say, “There’s no reason to feel that way. Well, just work hard! You can do it!”

Instead, he eyes didn’t fall into the same mode. They didn’t try to size up the situation and patch up the open wound. Rather, he leaned forward and whispered, “You know, I have it too.”

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